Treatment of combustible waste via incineration
The Centraco incineration unit treats short-lived low-to-intermediate-level radioactive combustible solid and liquid waste produced by nuclear installations, laboratories and hospitals, or collected directly by ANDRA.
Solid waste treated by the Centraco incineration unit arises from production and maintenance activities carried out by nuclear power plants, research centres and hospitals.
Examples of combustible solid waste treated at Centraco include: wood, solid sludge, miscellaneous operational waste such as cardboard, paper plastic (including polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC, limited to 5 - 10%)), work clothing, overshoes, small quantities of organic products (grease, etc.), putrescible waste, etc.
The viscosity of the liquid waste treated by the Centraco incineration unit allows it to be pumped and injected into the incinerator via injection lances. Liquid waste is divided into the following sub-categories, depending on its type: aqueous liquids (acids, bases and neutral liquids), and organic liquids (miscellaneous organic solvents and oils).
Examples of combustible liquid waste treated at Centraco include: liquid sludges, aqueous solutions, decontamination solutions, leaching effluents, concentrates, solvents, oils, TBP, ion exchange resins, etc.
The Centraco incineration unit has several preparation workshops located upstream of the incinerator.
Solid waste is received in drums, monitored via X-ray, and routed to the different workshops, depending on its characteristics. Liquid waste is received in drums or tanks, and transferred to intermediate storage tanks specific to each type of liquid. Depending on the type and conditioning of the waste, the pre-incineration phase enables waste to be routed via different processes in order to prepare batches for incineration.
The Centraco incineration unit is equipped with a static furnace, enabling combustible radioactive waste to be incinerated safely (in terms of both nuclear safety and industrial safety).
Incineration residues, mainly comprising ash and clinker, are conditioned in 400-litre drums. The final packages from incineration are compliant with ANDRA requirements. The residues are reassigned to the respective stakeholders in proportion to the weight and activity of the incoming waste.
Note that there is no reassignment of packages in the case of incinerated liquid waste.
The incineration unit enables waste volumes to be reduced by a factor of between ten and twenty, and also allows precise physical/chemical and radiological characterisation of packages sent for storage.
Cyclife France is authorised to treat low-level radioactive waste from foreign producers at the Centraco site, under nuclear safety conditions that are identical to those applicable to the treatment of French waste. Final waste is returned to the producing country after treatment.
The Centraco incineration unit has approval to incinerate 3,000 tonnes of solid waste and 3,000 tones of liquid waste per year.
Since it entered service, the unit has incinerated more than 70,000 tonnes of solid and liquid waste (as of the end of 2018).